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Should social media be part of a truck driver's background check?


When it comes to screening truck driving applicants, it’s up to the employer whether or not they should include social media checks.

When it comes to pre-employment screenings and background checks, the usual points come to mind: drug testing, references, criminal history, etc. However, in today's day and age, a new component to one's identity and background is readily available for hiring managers or recruiters, and it's both free and at their fingertips. That check is social media.

Whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or TikTok, the potential driver you're screening likely has at least one of these profiles. But should you use it to help determine whether to hire them?

The positives.
The great part about social media in this context is that it allows hiring managers to take a look at what an individual is comfortable putting out into the world via the internet. They can see their likes, dislikes, who they're friends with, what their hobbies are and more. The more being that they can ensure the candidate isn't using hate speech online, promoting illegal activity, posting explicit content or being violent. These are red flags that could be identified quite easily with a proper social media check and are attributes no employer wants to bring into their company.

The negatives.
Checking a candidate's social media can lead to discrimination on the employer's side, however. Whether conscious or not, there are biases that could be present when checking one's social media that couldn't show up legally as part of the application process. These include religion, political views, age, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, etc. according to Indeed.

Plus, not everything you read online is accurate. It's difficult to understand tone when reading online versus in person, so you could misinterpret some information. You might not even be sure you have the right person.

Best practices
In order to ensure fairness, and following the law, hiring managers and recruiters should be very upfront about their social media monitoring processes, should they choose to use them. Better yet, they should get written consent from the candidate in order to review their social media.

Whoever is reviewing the social media should make note of anything concerning. That way, if the candidate isn't hired and discrimination is assumed, there is clear information to show that there were legitimate findings. Using a third-party agency to conduct this check can also cover you as an employer, help ensure there isn't bias or discrimination, and allow you to use the information that's out there.
In addition, employers should use the same exact process from start to finish for every applicant to ensure fairness.

When it comes to screening truck driving applicants, it's up to the employer whether or not they should include social media checks. There are positives and negatives to using this modern approach. However when it comes to the trucking industry, there are already a number of obstacles contributing to the truck driver shortage. To include this step could set up another one, so it's a choice that should be made with that in mind.

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